How to "Say No" to Requests While Crushing Your Work

When we are really into something important, and all the sudden we get, “will you do me a favor” or “can you do something for me,” coming from people that we love and trust. Often it is hard to “say no” to requests we do not feel comfortable fulfilling, because of the work we are doing.


Because in the past those people have helped us in some way or another, and we are feeling obligated to fulfill that request no matter if we like it or not.

How to "Say No" to Requests While Crushing Your Work

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What’s the Problem with this?

Robert Cialdini, one of the most quoted speakers on persuasion in the business world, talks about reciprocity principle – "the good old give and take."

What that simply means, in the context of obligation, we feel a pull to say “yes” to those we owe and have helped us in the past. In this case friends and family…

It is really hard to break those chains of obligation when it comes to eliminating distractions from the people we love and trust.

However, we need to understand the current situation we are in…

When we try to build an online business, saying no, is not just important, but also necessary.

If you cannot say no to someone you love and trust, then you are in a position of jeopardizing your business. Why?

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Because All Activities that are Not Related to Your Business Become Pure Distractions

And instead of moving things forward, we are rushed to do something else and pulled away from our business activities.

Often times we are saying to ourselves that “this is just a small request,” like going out shopping with that person, cleaning things, hanging out at bars and restaurants etc., however, things like this tend to multiply.

What I’ve learned from Brian Tracy, one of the most successful time management experts, is that when you are doing the small and insignificant things first, they multiply!

Let’s say you go out shopping with your best friend. She needs a dress. It sounds like a 30 minute work, you go there, you like the dress and you buy it and come back…

Well, in reality, things are not happening that way … we have to make a choice, we look around, trying to find a better deal, perhaps that dress has to have a specific color and so on… All the sudden 2-3 hours of the day are GONE forever! Initially you thought it could be for only 30-40 minutes. And this does not include hanging out with mutual friends along the way…

The bottom line is…

Things Always Take Longer than Expected!

The inability to say no to requests from friends and family is endangering one’s business.

If you are afraid that you can lose some friends down the road, when you are denying certain requests they expect you to fulfill, we begin to seek for approval.

Usually small things are insignificant, if you say “no,” they might not be going to like it at the moment, but often fades away quickly. Most people forget very quickly!

However, if some of your friends does not understand your situation, where you also have important things to do… you may want to talk to them in ways that’s going to clear any confusion.

Having other people to make their priorities yours it is not an effective way of dealing in such situations. You always want people around you who can support you, understand your need for privacy, and bring the best in you.

Tip: Schedule or set aside a block of time for those type of distractions. Often they are based on an impulse, and it might be impossible to detect them, but you have control over your own time, so you may want to give yourself more time to finish a task that’s important to you.

You are your own boss, and if you do not control your own activities, you are going to live someone else’s agenda.

I am not saying that you should always “say no” to people, you have to do this in specific situations… and especially when you are focused at your work and have a concrete plan for the day to get the job done.

Also, I am not saying that you should put your business first and your friends/family second… there should be a specific time frame set aside for business and a time frame specifically designed for friends and family.

In fact, I am a strong believer that family and friends are more important than the business, but…

…there’s a line we do not cross, and if you mix both your business world and your personal life, then you are getting yourself into serious troubles. You always want to separate both and treat them as a separate entity.

Here are 14 Ways to Say No to Requests, Demands and Opportunities

  1. “I have no idea how this works” – You convey the message that you are going to do a poor job on what’s requested, and they better find somebody else.
  2. I am in the middle of an important project” – You simply convey the message that you are already busy and unavailable. You show that you have responsibilities and duties in place that have to be completed, before accepting any requests.
  3. “I do not like doing (whatever is requested)” – You let them know that if you do not enjoy what they requested, what’s the point of doing it? Somebody else might enjoy what you hate to do.
  4. “I am not comfortable with (whatever is requested)” – This comes down to “moral implication” and value system. Showing discomfort, does not mean you are a weak person. It conveys the message that you believe that something IS NOT right and you follow those principles. In this case, what’s requested “does not sound right for you.”
  5. “Let me refer someone who can help you with (whatever is requested)” – The person who gives the requests usually do not care who’s going to do the job, as long as it is done. What they demand on you, can be easily replaced by somebody else, who can do the job pretty well.
  6. “Not right now, but I can do it later” – If are currently unavailable and want to help out, just let them know that you can do it at a time that’s BEST for you.
  7. “I would love to help, but something urgent came up” – Let them know that you are (or you are GOING TO be) working on an urgent task that has to be done in a timely matter. You simply reject their request, because something important to you happened.
  8. “NO!” – It is okay to say no. Some people would appreciate your directness. If you want to learn more about how to say no…
  9. “I have another commitment or I promised to do something for somebody else right now” – It does not matter what it is, you just want to convey the message that you keep the promises you make to other people, and you do not want to break them. Otherwise, never make promises you can’t keep. This may damage relationships with other people.
  10. “I do not have any space left in my calendar!” – You are simply saying that you are overwhelmed with demands and responsibilities, and you do not have space for one more.
  11. “I can’t focus on multiple (activities/tasks/projects) at a time?!” – Tell them that you are going to do a poor job when you get involved in multitasking. That’s because you are in the middle of something, and if you try to fulfill other demands. You’ll be more effective, if you do one project at a time.
  12. “I need some ‘me time!" – You may want to do fitness, yoga, dancing or some other activity that recharges you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s fine to explain that you need 'me time,' and avoid any other demands, and responsibilities others trying to put on you.
  13. “If I do (what’s requested) I am going to get sidetracked from my current project” – You simply say that you can’t have the luxury to get off track from your current activities. You simply send the message that you are on a mission and focused at your work.
  14. “I am sure you’ll finish the job yourself even BETTER than me”– people often ask for support and help, because they doubt their own abilities to do certain tasks. If you show them that’s POSSIBLE for them to do it, they’ll discover something new about themselves.
    • First, you have to evoke their curiosity for doing that task themselves;
    • Second, they have to feel confident or empowered to do that task themselves;
    • Third, now you can show them that’s possible for them to do it! (follow this order).
Chris Diamond
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Chris Diamond
Bestselling Author, Serial Entrepreneur, Lecturer
Subjects of Expertise: Time Management, Personal Productivity, E-Book Publishing
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Chris Diamond
Bestselling Author
Serial Entrepreneur

Subjects of Expertise

Time Management
Personal Productivity
E-Book Publishing

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